Why Sia should be unapologetic for pedophilia overtones

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First Posted: 1/13/2015

Dear Sia,

I know you probably won’t get this letter. Regardless, I’m taking the initiative to write it anyway, with the hope that an incredibly gifted child in a wig and a leotard will read it to you.

If anyone knows anything about topics that warrant an apology, it’s me.

My name is Justin and I have been apologizing to my parents every week for more than four years.

After using my ‘one phone call’ in jail following a fraternity-house brawl in college to summon my dad for bail money on his birthday, I said “sorry.”

When I dressed as JonBenet Ramsey ‘back from the dead’ at a Halloween party in college, I said “sorry.”

Even when I performed the worst magic trick ever and turned an entire Stafford Loan into a trip to Vegas, twelve bucks and a hangover, I said “sorry.”

Right now you may assume that I am a self-destructive loose cannon, but I prefer to be called an apology expert. That being said, when I saw that you apologized to anyone that felt offended by your ‘Elastic Heart’ music video, I was pretty disappointed. I feel that you have every right to be unapologetic for the pedophilia overtones in your music video.

I first watched ‘Elastic Heart’ on a morning that I was getting ready for work. Browsing through my News Feed on my phone with one hand while pulling a sock past my ankle with the other, I noticed a link to your new video. I saw Shia LaBeouf was in it. I had to check it out, curious to see if he was participating in an interpretive dance like Maddie Ziegler did in your previous video — and he was! To my surprise, so was Maddie, while trapped in a cage with Shia.

I remember thinking it was weird.

I remember thinking it was inappropriate to have a grown man the same age as me, 28, dancing around with a 12-year old girl in a cage, eventually clinging to her at the end, appearing crestfallen that they were no longer trapped in a cage together.

I was left feeling a little uncomfortable and trying to imagine what the scene was meant to suggest, captivated for the rest of the day with your new song stuck in my head.

The next morning, I saw ‘Good Morning America’ report that you issued an apology to people who felt the video had perverted overtones. You even said that you’d foreseen such controversy, tweeting: “I anticipated some ‘pedophilia!!!’ cries for the video.”

I must admit I felt less uncomfortable with the video when you clarified the true meaning behind the content, revealing they were both playing you in warring states of mind, but I also felt less intrigued. I was no longer pushed to an emotion by your art.

You succumbed to the pressure of getting inundated with complaints of inappropriateness when you apologized. Your apology calmed the storm of people who were also pushed to an emotion. Without art that pushes boundaries, the dull and the ignorant will not be forced to think outside the box; forced to see outside the box.

So, should you be sorry for your art? In my opinion, no.

Your intentions were innocent, but you pushed the envelope because your art is innovative and mind-blowing.

If you think about it, having the ability to blow someone’s mind with new thoughts, be it positive or negative, is the great thing about art. Sometimes it’s there to make you uncomfortable so you can question yourself and society and confront issues you normally would ignore. The important thing is that art is there, and that people remain unapologetic for it.